Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Religion

Christianity is not a religion; it is the announcement of the end of religion. Religion consists of all the things (believing, behaving, worshipping, sacrificing) the human race has ever thought it had to do to get right with God.





About those things Christianity has only two comments to make. The first is that none of them ever had the least chance of doing the trick: the blood of bulls and goats can never take away sins (see the Epistle to the Hebrews) and no effort of ours to keep the law of God can ever succeed (see the Epistle to the Romans).

The second is that everything religion tried (and failed) to do has been perfectly done, once and for all, by Jesus in his death and resurrection. For Christians, therefore, the entire religion shop has been closed, boarded up, and forgotten.


The church is not in the religion business. It never has been and it never will be, in spite of all the ecclesiastical turkeys through two thousand years who have acted as if religion were their stock in trade.
The church, instead, is in the Gospel-proclaiming business.

It is not here to bring the world the bad news that God will think kindly about us after we have gone through certain creedal, liturgical, and ethical wickets; it is here to bring the world the Good News that "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly." It is here, in short, for no religious purpose at all, only to announce the Gospel of free grace.

Taken from 'The Parables of Grace' by Robert Farrar Capon.

Image is taken from The Meridian Magazine and shows a Baptistry sitting on the back of 12 oxen in an LDS temple.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

dave,

The word always gives the truth:"If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." NKJV James 1:26-27

It's simple

Dave - doc

Anonymous said...

dave,

The word always gives the truth:"If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." NKJV James 1:26-27

It's simple

Dave - doc

Meg said...

Indeed. Calls to mind the old adage, "Religion is what man tries to do for God; the Gospel is what God did for man." The first one fails; the last one always works.

Denominational differences and even intradenomination warfare, such as we now see everywhere, were not in God's original plans, I don't think. They sure were in "the other guy's," though, because they very effectively take the unity out of the Body.

Very sad.

meg

 

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